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Eye On Boise

Justice candidates weigh in on diversity on the court

Each of the four candidates running for the Idaho Supreme Court was asked about the fact that the court currently has no woman or person of color among its justices. Here are their answers:

Clive Strong: "I think diversity is important and is a factor that should be considered. But I also take into account other forms of diversity ... in terms of experience, background, so that we get a broad array of input that allows us to better understand each other’s points of view. Yes, I think it’s an important issue, but it’s one that’s not just based on gender or ethnicity.”

Robyn Brody: “That’s a tough question for me, since I’m the only one up here in a pink suit, and it’s been almost 10 years since we’ve had a woman sitting on the bench. It’s hard for me to remember that, since when I started practicing law, Linda Copple Trout was actually the chief justice. I’ve never been about my gender. … I’ve always been about being the best, making myself the best lawyer that I can be. My philosophy as a lawyer is that when a client walks in, I want them to be better off when they walk out the door.”

Curt McKenzie: “I think that’s important, but also include diversity of background, academic background, diversity of experience as an attorney, types of practice, the types of cases, I think those are all important things to think about when we select a justice.”

Sergio Gutierrez: “Excellent question. I was a new district judge when Justice Linda Copple Trout asked me to head the fairness and equality committee. And it weights heavy on me. When I became a judge in 1993, I thought, well, it’s going to be five years, we’ll see another Latino on the bench. I’m still waiting. And it’s important in this instance, that it really impacts the integrity of the court system. Imagine, as a lawyer going to the jury, and it not being reflective of your community. lt’s pretty simple. ... What happens when you add diversity? I prefer to call it inclusion, as opposed to diversity. And that is that you widen the lens of justice.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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